Ohio State at Indiana is almost finally here. We are now just hours away from kickoff of the 2017 football season. This means that we have also arrived at the start of predicting season.
Unfortunately with the site redesign, I have lost all of my previous prediction records. As I’m sure you’ll recall, my game predictions came true at about an 87% clip, maybe even higher. I don’t really remember because bragging is beneath people who are correct as often as I am. (For bragging to be beneath you, you have to have a prediction batting average of at least .825.)
Even though predicting is easy for me, the opening game is always a bit more difficult because there are so many unknowns. Sure, I think Parris Campbell is going to have a big year, but if nobody can defend K.J. Hill or Demario McCall, what’s a guy supposed to do?
So while I am confident in these next five picks, I am not confident that the new Ohio State coaches will be able to meet my standards.
We’ll find out soon enough, however.
1 J.K. Dobbins will rush for at least 100 yards against Indiana.
This was pretty much my first specific prediction for this game a few weeks back. The Indiana defensive line is going to be pushed around and J.K. Dobbins excels at making the second level miss. With Mike Weber being a question mark, 15 carries should put Dobbins over 100 yards, especially since he’ll likely have a 40-yarder in there somewhere.
2. Erick Smith or Jordan Fuller will have an interception.
As I mentioned in the Staff Picks, I expect Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow to test the Ohio State secondary deep. Jordan Fuller can cover a ton of ground, and he’ll have to in this game. I can see him playing centerfield and beating a Hoosier receiver to the spot. I can also see Erick Smith grabbing a tipped 50/50 ball. Strong safety is one of the real concerns of this defense, and I don’t expect them to be terrific in game one, but I do expect somebody to make a play on at least one football.
3. J.T. Barrett will be responsible for at least four touchdowns.
It would seem like three touchdown passes and a touchdown run will be about the average performance for J.T. Barrett this season, so why not start out being average from the outset. One of those touchdowns will be a jet sweep touch pass, but it will still count in the box score. And it will still definitely count in my predictions. Also, if Mike Weber is banged up, you might see Barrett become the power running option down inside the 10-yard line. If you have him on your fantasy team, start him.
4. Chris Worley will have an interception.
Chris Worley can cover more ground than most middle linebackers, and Richard Lagow will find that out Thursday night. Worley will be moving up and down like a yo-yo from play to play, and if Lagow gets lazy trying to drop one over Worley’s head, don’t be surprised when Worley heads the other way with it. There are going to be times when it will be difficult to utilize the middle of the field because Worley will be there waiting.
5. Three Buckeyes will have plays of at least 35 yards.
One of those three plays might be Chris Worley on a pick six. Another might be J.K. Dobbins’ 42-yard run in the first quarter. The third 35-yard play could come from a dozen different players. We know the Buckeyes are going to attack the Hoosiers downfield, which means that J.T. Barrett will throw at least one interception. In those multiple deep attempts, however, the Buckeyes should hit at least two. I have to admit, I feel pretty good about this prediction.
Bonus: Dre’Mont Jones will have at least 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Indiana offensive line has to replace some interior pieces, which is the absolute worst time to be facing Dre’Mont Jones.
Bonus: Jerome Baker will have at least eight tackles.
If Jerome Baker is going to be an All-American, he needs to start padding his stats immediately. I originally had 10 tackles here, but I don’t know if Indiana is going to keep trying to run the ball longer than one half.